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Houston police give advice on how to prevent thieves from taking your car


HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Auto theft. It’s a frustrating crime that can happen to anyone.

According to the latest data available from the Houston Police Department, auto thefts over the last 12 months have increased by 28% compared to the annual average in the previous four years.

ABC13 asked HPD officers with its auto theft division about tips and gadgets to help keep thieves from victimizing drivers. Police said it may sound obvious, but if your car is stolen, before you think about doing anything else, you should call police.

“If you live somewhere where you have cameras, look at your footage,” Officer Washington said. “Have it available for officers when they arrive on a flash drive or USB that we could go ahead and get the process rolling with your investigation.”

Washington said before any potential theft happens, she wants you to be intentional about ways to prevent car theft. She suggests using gadgets like steering wheel locks.

“The old fashion club system, if it’s used properly, that can work,” Washington said.

The steering wheel lock is a metal rod that prevents your steering wheel from turning. It takes time and a lot of work for a thief to get it off your steering wheel. She also recommends alarm systems and tracking devices.

SEE ALSO: Nearly 10 people operating auto theft ring targeting Houston airport garages, HPD says

“These modern-day alarm systems have tracking devices,” she said. “Ignition immobilizers, it’s something that can shut your car off in the event that it’s stolen.”

Washington said leaving anything visible inside your car can make you a victim.

“Especially gym bags, purses, wallets,” she said. “(Some) situations I’ve seen, where people leave their driver’s license and social security cards in their car.”

Believe it or not, Washington said drivers are constantly leaving their keys in the consoles of their cars.

“This will make you a victim,” Washington said. “Leaving your keys in your car makes it easy for someone to be able to victimize you and take your car in seconds.”

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